Last year at this time, New York Giants tight end Evan Engram was getting ready for what every pundit and football insider was calling his time to shine. His first two seasons were potholed with trouble and the odds were with him that he’d finally reach the peak of his talents.
It didn’t happen. Engram missed eight games due to various injuries, most notably the Lisfranc injury that required surgery. So, he’s back to the drawing board when it comes to getting his career off the ground. In 2018, Engram also suffers through multiple ailments, playing in just 11 games.
The Giants selected Engram with the 23rd overall selection in the 2017 NFL Draft out of Ole Miss. As a rookie, he flashed with 64 receptions for 722 yards and six touchdowns.
This summer, Engram is being held back but he appears ready for the season. The Giants are banking on him to be the player the Giants thought they were getting three years ago. They exercised his fifth year option this past spring and he knows his career is on the line. He has had quite a camp, impressing the new coaching staff and his teammates with his expansive abilities.
“Talk about a guy who loves football, wants to work at it and wants to refine his craft and everything he does,” offensive coordinator Jason Garrett said last week. “Heâ€™s done an outstanding job from minute one with us. He loves it. You can see it every day. Heâ€™s engaged in meetings, he works hard at practice. Thereâ€™s this idea that, hey, this is a receiving tight end, this is a play-making tight end. I donâ€™t think thereâ€™s any question about that. But heâ€™s also someone whoâ€™s willing to be a complete tight end and block, block in line and do the things he needs to do to be an every down player for us. Heâ€™s been fantastic. He has a great thirst for knowledge, a great thirst for trying to understand what weâ€™re asking him to do and it shows up in his work every day.â€
Engram did not participate in the Giants’ first scrimmage last week and is unlikely to be active for this week’s. The team knows what he can do and he’s already built up a rapport with second year quarterback Daniel Jones. He is ready to contribute come opening night, Sept. 14 versus the Steelers.
“I feel confident, I wouldnâ€™t say comfortable, just because I am trying to find ways to get better each and every day,” Engram said on Wednesday. “Iâ€™m definitely confident in the work we have been putting in as a tight end unit and our role in this offense. Weâ€™re asked to do a lot and I think we have a great opportunity to really make an impact for our offense and complement the other positions and come together as a unit. Me personally, Iâ€™m glad to be here working, Iâ€™m glad to be running around and having fun with my guys. I canâ€™t wait to get out there against Pittsburgh.”
Engram also likes what he sees in Jones and the offense.
“Iâ€™m very confident in this offense by the work we have been putting in together. As far as DJ, I feel really confident in him because I have seen how hard heâ€™s been working. We were together in the offseason before everything shut down in the facility, pushing each other in January, February and part of March. Seeing that and obviously keeping up with each other through the shutdown and obviously the work weâ€™ve been putting in here, I feel one hundred percent confident about him and the momentum weâ€™re going into the season with.”
If the Giants can keep their core weapons (Engram, Saquon Barkley, Sterling Shepard, Golden Tate, Darius Slayton) healthy, something they couldn’t do last season, the offense should be one to be reckoned with and Engram will play a major role in their success.